6 reasons to be cheerful about your savings

Elle Tucker

Look on the bright side – saving for your future could be a lot easier than you think. We’ve got six reasons to be cheerful.

There’s never been a better time to be an optimist!

Being positive not only helps us beat stress, but can actually help us live longer apparently. Boston University School of Medicine found that optimists have 50-70% better odds of reaching 85 years old compared to the least optimistic.

Having that glass half full (as opposed to glass half empty) approach to saving is bound to be a good thing too, right?

You might be surprised at what you can achieve

Watch the news or read the headlines and it’s easy to be put off by scare stories around how much you should be saving into a pension, for a property deposit or whatever your goal is.

Don’t be put off. There are some things that you can do and you might find saving is a lot easier than you thought.

Here are six reasons to look on the bright side.

1. You’re already a step ahead

Our recent Twitter poll revealed that one of the most burning questions about pensions is actually just about how they work.

So just by reading articles like this, you’re already getting in the know.

With a pension, you pay in, your employer contributes too if you’re in a workplace pension – that’s extra for you – and your money is invested on your behalf. Your money could go further than you think thanks to tax relief, and the potential for investment growth.

You can normally start to take your money from the age of 55 if you want to (though this age may change in future).

There’s a wealth of useful, free information available online – try What’s so good about a pension?, or the Money Advice Service for starters.

2. Help is at hand

You’re not doing it alone: since 2012, saving into your pension has been the responsibility of your employer too.

More than 10 million people are now enrolled into a workplace pension – and what’s so good is that your employer has to contribute too. And that’s a positive.

3. Your ‘friendly’ bit of tax relief – here’s what it means

There’s something else on your side: tax relief, which can really help to boost your savings. It’s to encourage people to save into pensions.

But not many people actually know what this means.

The tax relief is normally based on the rate of income tax you pay.

If you pay basic rate income tax you get 20% relief, so it normally only costs you £80 to save £100 into your pension. Pay higher rates of tax and saving can cost you even less.

Not all pensions work the same when it comes to tax relief but the effect is similar. Check how yours works with your provider.

4. There isn’t a bad time to start saving

Whatever age you are, it’s never too late to start saving for your future. Although saving for the future is important, sometimes there are other things that money needs to be spent on too, such as an emergency fund, or a home deposit or wedding.

That’s where things like ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts) can come into their own for medium to long-term saving goals. They let you save your money tax efficiently and how much you can save each tax year is £20,000 for 2019-20.

Plus you can normally access your money when you need it. You can read more about the different ISAs available here.

Saving for a property? The Lifetime ISA or ‘LISA’ could help. If you qualify you can save up to £4,000 a year and get a government bonus of £1 on top of every £4 you save if you’re using it to buy a first home. There are certain conditions but you can find out more about LISAs on the government’s website.

5. Get some happy saving habits

From setting a budget to having clear goals and cutting through financial jargon, these Five Financial Habits could help you carve out that little extra and get saving. And that could make a big difference.

6. You’re in control

More good news: you’re in charge and you can find out now how much you’ve saved so far and start thinking about how much you might need to save for a comfortable future.

Find out how they are shaping up using this simple pension calculator.

If you want to see how an ISA can grow, try our ISA calculator.

Planning to enjoy a long, bright future? That’s all the more reason to save too.


Elle Tucker is a freelance journalist writing on behalf of Standard Life.


This article shouldn’t be taken as financial advice and is based on our understanding in October 2019. Pensions and Stocks and Shares ISAs are investments. Their value can go down as well as up and they may be worth less than was paid in.

Laws and tax rules may change in the future and your own personal circumstances will have an impact on tax treatment.